By Gruesome Greg
Whoever said that brevity is the soul of wit would not be a fan of Ancestors. The LA quintet’s first full-length offering contains just eight tracks, but its run-time surpasses the 70-minute mark. (By their standards, I’d consider the two track, 38 minute, initial offering Neptune of Fire to be an EP…) The band can’t decide whether to join the noodly prog rock or stoner doom circles, and has left a foot in both camps, coming off like Dream Theater on ditch weed.
Of Sound Mind contains four tracks over 13 minutes in length, with the remaining filler ranging from piano interludes to the kinda beeps and boops that Sabbath’s “E5150” was made of. “Mother Animal”, in its 14 and a half minute glory, starts off with heavy doom riffing, descends into atmospheric territory a la Anagram meets Nadja, and ends on a psychedelic instro psych passage, complete with Hammond organ.
The 13 minute, 44 second “Bounty of Age” starts off like bad adult contemporary music, Dire Straits meets Dream Theater. Remember that song from Images and Words that had a saxophone on it? Picture that, without the saxophone, and somebody playing “Light My Fire” on keys instead. The solid bass playing of Nick Long is the lone heavy element holding things together. Things pick up with a doomy riff around the eight-minute mark, and the first vocals come in with just a couple minutes to go, as the keys shift from Ray Manzarek to Blood Ceremony… At 17 and a half minutes long, “The Trial” is the most trying song on the album. It starts off with more too-clean-sounding proggy bits, before running into a space rock wall of sound. Then, at 11 minutes, it comes back to semi-doomy riff rock, heavy bottom end in tow. It ends on a slow note of droning, sludgy heaviness, before some keyboard cheese ruins the moment.
Thirteen minute, 32 second album-closer The Ambrose Law opens with a bluesy stoner Sabbathy riff. Now, here’s the stuff I’ve been waiting an hour to hear! Although it ends on a more progressive note, it’s still my favourite song on the album.
(Tee Pee Records)